Dentists can make websites themselves fairly easy using platforms like WordPress and Wix. These platforms make it fairly straightforward for anyone to build a simple website without any knowledge of coding. They’ll even make it easy for you to host the website on their servers without any real training or specialised knowledge.
But how do you make the website stand out? How do you make it rank highly in Google?
Keep Your Website Simple
If you’re going to create your own website, it may be best to keep things simple at first.
Your homepage should take the most time to create since it is the first thing most visitors will see, it’s your first impression. Make sure you have your logo and branding, images of the practice and the team and links to all your most important pages. These will usually be your treatment pages and your fees page.
Try to keep the number of pages low at first – around a dozen to start off. Instead of a page for each treatment, have a page for all of your orthodontic services, another for all of your cosmetic services and another for all of your general treatments. Instead of a page for each team member, just have a page for the whole team.
Once you get more confident in your design and SEO abilities, create individual pages for each treatment and team member and see how highly you can rank them in Google.
The website also needs to be easily navigable. Keep the menus simple and clearly labelled. A good task is to show the website to a friend and ask them to find something specific. If it’s hard for them to find, it’s hard for patients to find. If it’s hard for patients to find, they will give up looking.
Use Call to Actions
If your website could only have one element on it, it should be a call to action. In simple terms, the job of a website is to get customers and patients to click a certain button, fill in a certain form or phone a certain number.
Set up an online booking portal like Software of Excellence for your website as soon as you can and put a big, clear ‘book online’ button on each page.
Get your practice’s telephone number and email address onto every page as well. A good way to do this is to include them in the header or footer of your website so they automatically appear everywhere.
Next, you want to include a contact form on every page. Keep them simple – the more information you ask for, the fewer patients will send a contact form! Ask for their name, a way to contact them and their query. You can then set yourself a notification anytime it is filled in so you can contact the lead immediately.
Using Images on a Dental Website
The next step is to make it visually appealing. Remember that speed is essential to a good website so keep the image size and resolution small. Don’t start adding huge 500Mb HD images to each page, you’ll only hamstring your speed. You can find free tools to shrink and compress images online so make sure they are only as big as they need to be. 300/600px on each side is enough for most screen sizes.
Get your best images of the team, the practice and the local area together and pepper them throughout the site. It’s fine to use stock images from websites like unsplash and shutterstock if you do not have any, in fact, some designers prefer it. However, you might run the risk of your website looking like many others – there’s only so many stock photos of dentists out there!
Make Your Dental Practice’s Website Fast
Speed has become the key to a great website. Google has been putting more and more emphasis on the speed of a website in recent years and it is now one of the key metrics they use to rank websites. In other words, the fast your website, the higher it will rank.
There are lots of ways to keep load times down and the website fast. We often find the worst culprits are images on the page. However, any widget can slow a website down so play around with different layouts and functionalities until you find the balance between user experience and speed.
Plugins like Lazy Loader can help with your website’s speed by prioritising what images and videos are loaded in what order. Make sure you do regular speed checks on your website to ensure it doesn’t start slowing down and costing you SEO!
Local SEO and Dental Websites
Creating a website for a dental practice is not quite the same as building a website for an e-commerce business that can ship products far and wide. You main customer base is going to be your local area and the surrounding regions. This is where your local SEO becomes important.
Google ‘dentist near me’ and you’ll see a selection of dental practices within about a mile or 2 of your location. That is local SEO at work.
Register your website on Google My Business, which allows a practice to be listed for free, with information such as opening times, directions, services and images. This is the directory Google uses to store your information and match it up to local searches like ‘dentist near me’.
You then want to find other local business directories online and get your practice registered on them. Independent online business directories like Yelp and local councils will let you list your business and boost your local SEO. Make sure your name, address, phone number and website are listed on as many local and national business directories as you can find.
You also want to make sure you pepper your location throughout the text on your website. If you’re a dentist in York, make sure you’ve got ‘dentist in York’, ‘York Dental Practice’ and other, similar variations mentioned in the text of your website.
Make it Mobile-friendly
Mobile internet usage now accounts for over 50% of all online activity. This has huge implications for the way your website needs to be designed. What looks great on a desktop might not (and probably won’t) look good on a mobile phone or a tablet. In fact, there’s a good chance it doesn’t even function properly if you haven’t tested it.
Test and preview your website on mobile. In fact, you should be building your website with a mobile-first attitude. Your links, buttons forms and multimedia all need to look and work just as well as they do on desktops. Most of your traffic is going to be coming from mobile phones and that is only going to increase.
Make Use Of SEO Techniques
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of building a dental website that converts patients. Most people access your online content by using a search engine like Google. This means that you want your dental practice to feature highly in search results – higher than your competitors at least! Making good use of SEO techniques helps you to make this happen. These are aspects you need to effectively digitally market your practice. You need to:
- Make sure that all online content is easy to read.
- Think about the keywords that you use, include long-tail keywords, use keywords in titles and sub headings and use locations in your keywords.
- Keep all of your online content fresh.
- Include internal links and make sure external links are relevant and to reputable websites.